I’m a relatively new mom (17 month old daughter), so this word is one that is very familiar to me these days.
I feel guilt often and for various reasons- mostly because I feel like I am not doing a good enough job. I work full time and like a lot of other Moms I know, have a lot of different responsibilities and expectations (most are self imposed). I do believe the old adage that we are our own worst critics.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading about personal wellness and expectations, time management and “getting things done” as a working Mom. The changes in my personal life have significantly shifted my perspective on these topics. Where I used to focus on techniques like task lists and workbooks; think GTD and Lifehacker, my goals have shifted towards managing expectations (mostly my own). I’ve started listening to Lisa Byrne’s webcasts and have started to read some of Brene’s work. I find all of it inspiring, honestly.
I think that the biggest struggle that working mothers find is where we were once able to choose when we did each task and to schedule ourselves, now we have to choose which tasks we are able to do and which ones will need to fall to the wayside for now. I don’t physically have enough hours in my day to work full time, garden, make dinner, grocery shop, clean AND effectively parent my daughter. I have to pick and choose every day which of these things I will be able to do that day- and which ones are really important to me. Things like cleaning and gardening quickly lose importance on that list, until someone announces they are coming over, or I see a fabulous article about the importance of organic vegetables in a growing child’s diet. Then the GUILT sets in. All because someone or something has shone the light on the fact that I can’t do everything and I’m failing as a Mom or as a housekeeper, or as a friend.
The biggest struggle for me right now is that very often I am sitting under a huge list of things that I *could* do. I need to put importance on some of them, and then ACCEPT that later I might be faced with a situation where I am reminded that I wasn’t able to clean the toilet like I wanted to or fold the laundry. Acceptance of where you are in life and the fierce reality of that is the only way to happiness and contentment.
Google Lisa Byrne and the Well Grounded Campus for more useful information..
My husband and I have had some major financial changes in the last two years that have forced us to examine our finances, our financial habits and to be really honest with ourselves and each other about where we “are” financially.
I have a ‘good’ job; which I define as a job that I enjoy, that is relatively secure, pays very well and is flexible. My DH had a similar job, except that he was incredibly dissatisfied and unhappy in his work. Two years ago he decided to leave security behind and partner up with someone in a private enterprise. One year later, that partnership had fizzled and we were left to decide whether to buy that company or start our own. Add to that situation the birth of our first baby and a one year maternity leave for myself, and you get a very precarious financial situation. We survived it by having a substantial savings buffer. Now I’m back to work, the buffer does not exist and we have spent the last three months working REALLY hard on our relationship and financial accountability together. It nearly stripped us apart, but we survived it and have learned a lot.
I’d like to pass this learning on to you, my dear readers (who have yet to hatch in the internets, but I know you will).
Here are my top financial tips:
1. Save a $1000 buffer – no matter who you are or how much money you make, do this before doing ANYTHING else. This $1000 could be what keeps you afloat in times of unexpected things.
2. Write down your top 3 financial goals for the current year (e.g., paying off line of credit, saving $xxx, etc.) and review them often.
3. Create a budget and track your spending for 3 months. This will give you a really clear understanding of where your money is going. While it might sound tedious at first, you’ll probably be surprised by a few lines in your budget.
4. Start a mututal fund contribution and contribute whatever you can ($10 even). Increase this contribution as your financial situation changes- you’ll be surprised how quickly this account grows without you even noticing.
5. Start using coupons and flyers. Our family eats a lot of fresh, whole foods that aren’t covered by coupons, but we do watch the flyers and I WILL make special trips to stores to pick up a $1 pineapple. It try to make it a rule that there is at least 3 deals that I want at each store.
6. Meal Plan- this sounds like such a time consuming or trivial thing, but trust me. You’ll save money on groceries, time and wasted food.
7. Take inventory of the things that you have and make a rule that 1-in equals 1-out. Most people already have “enough stuff”, so make yourself a rule that if you buy something new, it’s only to replace something old that you no longer need and will discard of. This stops a lot of impulse buys for us.
Here are some useful financial sites I like to reference:
Gail Vaz Oxlade
Never hold a grudge. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.